Options Magazine, Summer 2023: Joint Research Centre (JRC) and IIASA collaborate to explore the future of Ukraine's massively declining population post-war.

Russia’s war against Ukraine began in February 2022. Since then, many Ukrainians have fled their homeland, kicking off a mass exodus that has become the fastest and largest population displacement in Europe since World War II.

Compounding the tragedy of war is the fact that this displacement has hit a nation already reeling from a rapidly shrinking population, due to low birth rates as well as high mortality and emigration rates.

In a new report from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), with collaboration from IIASA, IIASA Population and Just Societies Program Director Anne Goujon and her coauthors, Saroja Adhikari and Samir KC, show that this population decline is likely to continue over the next decade. In fact, even the most optimistic projections show a decline of 21% by 2050. This research underscores the need for strong and decisive leadership on long-term care and learning, citizen engagement, and migrant reintegration to address both rapid aging of the population and loss from the war.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to the displacement of millions of Ukrainians, which will have consequences on the longer-term future of Ukraine’s population size and structure,” explains Goujon. “Exploring potential futures using “what-if” scenarios with varying assumptions is necessary to provide policymakers with a nuanced picture of how migration could impact the future of the Ukrainian population. More importantly, this research can help to make informed decisions about the allocation of support in line with the country’s needs.”

By Jeremy Summers


Ueffing, P., Adhikari, S., K.C., Samir, Poznyak, O., Goujon, A., & Natale, F. (2023). Ukraine's population future after the Russian Invasion. Publications Office of the European Union , Luxembourg.